Oh, woe is me. The last day of my very first South By Southwest Film Festival. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed films so much. The crap that is mass distributed these days is just pure and utter brain candy. No substance, and really bad for you. This will now become my annual personal spa vacation of sorts. It's where I can reset, refresh, and rejuvenate. You're welcome to join me.
Mike and I started my last day of joy and bliss at Alamo South Lamar with 638 Ways to Kill Castro, a documentary about all the ways the CIA and others have attempted to kill Fidel Castro. It was interesting, but overall kind of a dud. Seems like there was just more that could have been done with it. It was kind of like a good hour-long Discovery Channel show. It was educational, if nothing else. 5.5 out of 10
On to downtown where the rest of the day will be played out. At Alamo Downtown, we caught the very odd documentary about a young teenage kid that has a few quirks, Billy the Kid. It was a very amateur documentary — yanno, handheld camera with no lighting and ok sound. But despite that, it was good. It's docs like this that really make me wonder how people found things to do documentaries on. How would anyone just find this kid? 6.5 out of 10
Killing time, yet again, so I go to mi casa The Paramount. Monterey Pop is a documentary of The Monterey International Pop Music Festival, by D.A. Pennebaker. I think I've seen snippets of this before. The film showcased insane performances from Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar, and many more. Amazing stuff. This wasn't a new film for SXSW, but something the festival makers wanted to showcase as it was truly a groundbreaking type of film in its day. I was super tired during it so I kept nodding off here and there, but nothing major. It was an excellent representation of great music and those lovely envy-inspiring days in the 60s. Oh yah, and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas was in the audience hand. Afterwards, she was outside talking to some press and was crying. It must have brought a lot of memories back for her. And, damn, she still looks good. 8.5 out of 10
Sticking at the Paramount, and killing time before What Would Jesus Buy?, I think I shall sit and endure, I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK. Holy crap. I keep doing this. I keep "settling" on a film to kill time or whatever, and it turns out to be an excellent mind blowing experience. This was the official closeout film of the festival, and I can see why. I kid you not, when I tell you that this film is about a girl who thinks she is a cyborg. She foregoes eating for shock treatments to recharge her batteries and she talks to fellow machinery like the vending machines and phones. She, of course, winds up in a mental institute where there are equally odd personalities. This is a film out of Korea, and does not currently have US distribution. I truly hope it gets something because this really needs to be seen. It's quirky, it's original, and truly beautifully done. Excellamundo! 9.5 out of 10
So, I get back in line for my final film of the festival, What Would Jesus Buy? and wait for Mikey to join me in line. He didn't quite make it, but go into the film about 15 minutes late. The film is about Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir. They see what Christmas has come to and feel like we need to get back to the true meaning of Christmas, and stop shopping. Now, they don't truly mean to stop shopping, but it sounds better than "spend less", and it gets your attention. People go into major debt for Christmas and yet truly seem to forget what it's supposed to be about. They use comedy to get their message across, but they do indeed get the word out. This was produced by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame. We missed the original showing which was the world premiere, so we missed out on seeing the full choir. However, Reverend Billy and 2 of his choir members were on hand. Rev. Billy answered some questions from the audience, even got in a bit of a slight dispute, but overall was very much the same entertaining character you see in the movie. This is definitely worth watching. It really makes you think, but it also entertains and makes you laugh. 8.5 out of 10